Continuing his criticism of Gen. (retd.) Qamar Javed Bajwa’s actions during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s time in government, former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday alleged that the former Army chief had urged him to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine after he returned from Moscow.
“I talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin about procurement of oil at cheaper rates but when I returned to Pakistan, then chief of army staff asked me to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine,” he claimed during a televised address, though multiple statements from Moscow have maintained that no deal was in the offing at that time.
According to Khan, he had believed Pakistan should remain “neutral” in the conflict. However, he claimed, Bajwa had condemned the invasion at a public event without informing the government. “A grade-22 officer made a foreign policy statement during a seminar to please the U.S.,” he claimed, adding that there were consequences to taking decisions aimed at pleasing Washington.
“With the support of Russia, India reduced its inflation from 7.5 percent to 5.5 percent, but Pakistan’s inflation rate rose from 12 percent to 30 percent,” he claimed, indicating he believes the only reason for Pakistan’s rampant inflation is an inability to secure Russian oil.
During his speech, which primary revolved around the theme of religion, the PTI chief reiterated his demand for polls in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to be conducted within 90 days of their dissolution. Stressing that any delay would be a violation of the Constitution, he claimed the only way to achieve stability was through fresh elections and attempts to delay the process should be halted.
Accusing previous rulers of violating Pakistan’s sovereignty by “looting” the national wealth, he said the “elite” had prevented the imposition of any system that would bring the powerful under the law and protect the fundamental rights of the weak. He also urged the audience to join his ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ (real freedom) movement to ensure the law was equally applicable to all. “Pakistan will have no bright future if the powerful continue to go scot-free after looting the country,” he added.